Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Process to making my copper pendants
I thought today would be a good day to show a bit of how I make my copper pendants.
First of all they all start as a sheet of bare copper, I cut it to approx. 2" x 6" strips and heat it with my torch until it is red hot. Then quench it into a bucket of cold water. This softens the copper and gets it ready for transferring an image onto.
Most of my pendants are made using my own doodle art that has been etched onto a piece of copper and then transferred to a second piece through my small rolling mill. Or found objects such as leaves, feathers, butterfly wings,.... can all be rolled as well.
Once the copper is cleaned through use of my pickle pot to remove the fire scale, I cut them into usually 2 x 2" pieces, select one of my etched pieces, place them together and put some muscle into the handle of the mill and roll it through. Most etched pieces are usually good for 3 or 4 passes although as the image is stretched no two of mine will ever be the same. And after the 3rd or 4th pass they are pretty useless and that particular design is finished. And that's okay, this is what keeps my pieces unique and one of a kind. I also use a different shape and size for each pendant.
After the image is on the second piece of copper I then cut to shape, file and drill the piece.If it is going to be domed I use my doming block and dapping tools for this. Add a handcrafted wire bail, give it a patina to bring out the detail and polish them by hand to a warm glowing shine.
A few added notes, after your copper is heated it is very soft and pliable, through the process of cutting, filling and doming your work the copper is work hardened and make a very durable piece of jewelry.
I have incorporated one of my own small fused art glass cabochon. I'm always looking for new ways to use my copper and fused glass work together. This was a great way to add a splash of color.